Media measurement juggernaut Nielsen is getting even more juggernaut-y this week with several big acquisitions and partnerships. On the traditional media side, Nielsen ponied up $1.26 billion for Arbitron, the main radio ratings firm, essentially giving Nielsen total domination of broadcast ratings. But Nielsen isn’t neglecting the digital future: the titan from the Netherlands also unveiled a new product for measuring TV-related buzz on social media with Twitter.
The “Nielsen Twitter TV Rating,” set to debut with the 2012 TV season, is a syndicated metric that quantifies how much TV shows are discussed on the ubiquitous microblogging service. This will give TV broadcasters insight into audience size and sentiment, as well as new ways to reach viewers.
In the announcement unveiling the Nielsen TV Twitter Rating, CBS Corp. chief research officer (and highly-regarded media maven) David Poltrack stated: “The proliferation of smartphones and tablets has generated a substantial ‘connected’ TV audience that is simultaneously watching television and accessing the Internet through these devices. This, in turn, will continue to create the opportunity for content providers like CBS to offer engaging interactive features for our viewers. As this form of viewer engagement evolves into a mainstream activity, it presents ways for CBS to enhance the viewing experience for our viewers and our advertisers."
Personally, I find the idea of using a tablet computer while watching TV to be about as much fun as trying to take the SATs on a rollercoaster -- but I understand I’m not necessarily typical. According to data released by the Nielsen Cross-Platform Project in November, around 40% of Americans use tablets or smartphones while watching TV every day -- and twice as many do so at least once a month.